Pathfinders

Guiding your students to places on the web can be difficult and sometimes downright scary!  You certainly want them to learn their way around the web as consumers/producers of information, so in addition to teaching information literacy skills, it is often helpful when we can develop a structured “path” for them while on the internet.

Whether you are having your students go directly to a single site for an activity, search for information on a particular topic, or make a choice between various activities online, pathfinders can help save time and guide students during their online journey.

There are many ways to create a pathfinder.  Here are a few…

Internet Shortcut:

1. In the student directory, create a new folder (or use an existing folder).  A good title for this folder might be the teacher name or grade level.
2. Open a web browser and find a site you wish to bookmark for students.
3. Click on the Internet Explorer icon (blue “e”) to the left of the website address and drag it to your new folder.

pathfinder-link-shortcut-in-folder

This simply creates a shortcut to the website.  When students go to the folder in the student directory, they will find the shortcut link and can double click it to open the site in Internet Explorer.
(Note: Students might accidentally delete the shortcut, so you might want to place a copy of the folder in your own home directory so you can add it back to the student directory when needed.)

Word document of links:

1. Open a blank Word document.
2. Type or copy/paste links (and any related titles/descriptions you wish to add).
3. File > Save As.  In the dialog box for “Save as type”, choose “Single File Web Page”.  Name your file and save to the student directory.  (As noted above, you might want to keep a copy of this file in your own home directory in case it is accidentally deleted.)

(Another great idea: Carolyn Vibbert at Southwest Elementary has created a launch page for K-2 students with thumbnail pictures linked to sites she and teachers are currently using with students.)

Place link(s) on your HPS website:

Place a link to a particular website on your classroom webpage.  You can get directions for doing this from your school web team.

Social bookmarking:

Social bookmarking sites allow you to save your favorites and then share them with others.  A popular example of social bookmarking is Delicious.  (Remember I save all of my favorites to my delicious site for teachers to use as a resource.)  You can create a delicious account to keep links for your students to access, categorizing them with tags (keywords) so appropriate links are easier to find.

Southwest Elementary and Longview have already created delicious accounts for the purpose of creating a bank of links for students to access.

delicious-screenshot

1. View this video to better understand social bookmarking.
2. Create an account on delicious.com
3. Add links, tagged with keywords, so that students can find sites easily.
4. Add your delicious site link to your classroom webpage or place a shortcut link in the student directory.

Google Custom Search:

Google has a free feature that allows you to create your own search engine.  (You will have to have a free Google Account before you can create a custom search.)

google-custom-search

1. Give your custom search a name.
2. Add links and/or keywords to the custom search engine.
3. Share the link to the custom search by placing a link on your classroom webpage or placing a shortcut link in the student directory.

There are many ways to create a pathfinder for your students.  Hopefully the suggestions above will give you a few ideas to get you started.

Happy Monday!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s